MAYA WILEY RESPONSES

1) What are your top environmental and climate-related priorities?

“Sustainability” as a concept encompasses more than just the natural environment – it includes workers and our economy, as jobs which don’t provide a living wage or safe working conditions also damage our city’s sustainability. Fundamental to the city’s climate goals will be green collar jobs. Addressing climate above all means addressing infrastructure, so climate jobs are necessarily local jobs in NYC. In order to create good, green jobs, I will prioritize the following:


-Fund OneNYC. New York City has a strong climate plan in OneNYC, which centers environmental justice, green jobs, and adaptation / increasing resilience to the impacts and risks climate change is already guaranteed to bring. This must be fully funded and implemented; it can also be made both more ambitious while ensuring legacy inequalities are erased and our diverse communities and economy can thrive


-Reduce building emissions, as 68% of direct emissions come from our buildings

Emission reductions will come primarily from increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, and retrofitting/transitioning the energy sources we use, both for electricity and heat, to renewable sources


-The change needed will require significant investment – and a significant local workforce. Retrofits of NYCHA housing will improve living conditions of residents


-Reinforce and expand the state’s Green Jobs Training Program. Job training and workforce development programs must likewise prioritize green skills


-Prioritize green investments in public contracts, and regulate new construction and mandate upgrades to existing buildings for private stock


2) How would you prioritize the creation of climate jobs in New York City and investment in communities of color, if at all?

At the Center for Social Inclusion I led the creation of a program entitled “Energy Democracy.” As part of this program, I sought to elevate opportunities to support communities of color to be producers and generators of renewable energy and climate resiliency; not just to be seen as consumers or workers. Ownership matters and can and should take many forms, from community cooperatives, to B Corps and utilities. We need multiple strategies to create true energy democracy. As Mayor, I will build upon my past work in this area and look for more opportunities to create not only jobs but true community ownership and public ownership models within our renewable energy sector.

There is no better spending than on resiliency and the fight against climate change. That’s why I pledged $3 billion in new and accelerated spending toward building a Climate Resilient NYC as part of New Deal New York. Over half of New York City residents who live in flood zones are people of color and/or low-income. When I am Mayor, I will use the power of the City’s capital budget to put those New Yorkers to work on the projects we need to protect our flood zones, as laid out in my New Deal New York plan.

In addition, I will take a number of approaches, detailed below, to create and expand climate jobs across the city, most significantly in communities of color. 

As Mayor, I will:


-Ensure we have appropriate  workforce training programs to sustain new climate infrastructure and create a pipeline of newly trained and retrained workers into the climate industry. 

         -Reinforce  the state’s Green Jobs Training Program and ensure that the City keeps pace with green jobs growth; 

         -Invest both in job skills and higher education for youth and in retraining programs; 

         -Focus  training programs on Black and Brown communities, women, older high school 

          students, and formerly incarcerated residents.


-Reducing New York City’s emissions and ensuring our resilience to the coming impacts of climate change will require significant investment in our infrastructure - renewable energy generation, upgrades to our transit systems, and in particular, retrofitting and upgrading our building stock. 

       -All of these are onsite jobs, and should therefore prioritize local hires, particularly from 

        among historically disadvantaged communities. 


-Programs will provide access to union benefits such as pensions, health insurance, and job security 

        -Similar to WPA, building upon existing programs such as the Edward J. Malloy Initiative 

         for Construction Skills, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), Helmets to Hard 

          Hats New York, and Pathways 2 Apprenticeship

3) How would you advance the City’s goal of implementing 100% clean, affordable energy and maximizing greenhouse gas and co-pollutant reductions, if at all?

The direct emissions of New York City come from three sources – energy use and buildings (68%), transportation (28%), and waste (4%). All of these are fundamental city infrastructure systems, intertwined with the economy, education, health, equity, and quality of life. I am developing a comprehensive plan to dramatically reduce emissions in each of these areas, and will be releasing it in the coming weeks. 


On top of emissions reductions, we will seek carbon neutrality or negativity through transitioning toward 100% clean, renewable energy sources including offshore wind, solar and geothermal, and investigating opportunities to enhance natural carbon sinks. Under my leadership, the City will match or surpass the New York State mandate for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.

4) How would you support the affordable and low-income housing sector in improving energy efficiency, enhancing residents’ comfort and living conditions, and meeting the City’s emissions reductions goals, if at all?

I would fully support a Green New Deal for Public Housing as Mayor of New York City, home to NYCHA, the largest public housing authority in the country. Through our ongoing People’s Assemblies, we will ensure that NYCHA residents have every opportunity to participate in the policymaking process. I aim to implement retrofits and efficiency upgrades without carbon offsets and rapidly transitioning away from natural gas in all NYCHA housing through local job training and placement programs targeted to NYCHA residents, with NYCHA tenant leaders at the helm of all steering committees and task forces. 


To reduce building emissions, the recent plan to move away from natural gas and fuel oil in all large buildings by 2040 is commendable, but we must expand its ambitions. We could do this by expanding the capacity of the NYC Accelerator, to facilitate a similar transition for affordable housing units, small buildings, and homeowners. Electrification means cleaner indoor air, and lower utility bills, both critical for our city’s most vulnerable.


In addition, there are models we can look to for building affordable housing that meets energy efficiency standards, like Park Avenue Green in the Bronx, the largest residential building built to Passive House US (PHIUS) standard in the country. Passive housing cuts down a building's ecological footprint by significantly reducing its energy usage requirements for space heating or cooling. Park Avenue Green shows that it is possible to keep construction costs down while building energy efficient affordable housing, through sourcing from local manufacturers, and downsizing oversized equipment.

5) How would you support the expansion of clean public transportation in the City, if at all?

Our city’s transit infrastructure, much like our housing, has been shaped by legacies of systemic disinvestment. We must think boldly and comprehensively for a city-wide new vision to reimagine and transform urban street-space, permanently increasing walkability and protected bicycle lanes, and reducing car dependence. We must focus on freight and waste collection, not just mobility, for transportation decisions city-wide (to mitigate most directly the burden on low-income neighbors). We must engage communities in the physical redesign of their neighborhoods. 


Transportation is the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in our state, and switching to alternative fuels is not enough. Moving New Yorkers out of single-occupancy vehicles via improved and efficient public transit, bike, scooter, and other micro-mobility programs are all part of the solution for a greener transportation sector. A systematic rethinking of how we move freight and consumer goods into and around the city will be required as well, taking full advantage of 21st century smart technology options. 


Under my leadership, the City will take a comprehensive approach to reimagining streetspace, so that there is adequate infrastructure in place to meet the growth in sustainable transportation. My administration will lead the way by reducing the size of the City’s fleet and more aggressively transitioning the remainder of the fleet to zero-emissions

6) How would you upgrade local industrial port infrastructure in a way that is both sustainable and equitable, if at all?

I will support the enactment of community based proposals such as the GRID plan (Green Resilient Industrial District ) to maintain community ownership of new clean energy infrastructure. 


I will drive forward the current proposals for upgrading NYC’s port infrastructure to make it capable of supporting a burgeoning offshore wind industry along the East Coast.

I will simultaneously work to green the ports themselves, for example by expanding shore power capabilities and electrification of drayage and other infrastructure, and ensuring that the Port Authority’s Clean Vessel Incentive Program is increasingly ambitious in its expectations.


In addition, I will provide industrial spaces to house new climate jobs in order to support industrial port infrastructure upgrades and renewable energy/energy storage development.

7A) How would you develop climate resiliency infrastructure on public lands to protect New York City’s most vulnerable communities, if at all? 

There is no better spending than on resiliency and the fight against climate change. Over half of New York City residents who live in flood zones are people of color and/or low-income. When I am Mayor, I will use the power of the City’s capital budget to put those New Yorkers to work on the projects we need to protect our flood zones, as laid out in my New Deal New York plan.

My plan to develop resiliency involves:


-Approaching our shorelines holistically, understanding that resilience projects in one neighborhood may impact water levels and risk in others


-Increasing access to green space and parks in neighborhoods that are zoned for light manufacturing and otherwise have limited access to green space, which will help with stormwater management, urban heat islands, and air quality.


-Considering expanding the application of NYC Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines beyond all city capital projects to private developments


-Combining zoning rule changes with revised flood-insurance rules and access to incentives and retrofit financing to help at-risk property owners improve their resilience

7B) How would you support the Renewable Rikers proposal, if at all? 

I support the plan for a Renewable Rikers Island, with green infrastructure and development informed by communities, to help the City meet its energy goals and to create thousands of green jobs. The model ties together two important principles of my campaign: restorative justice and environmental justice. As Mayor, I will follow through on the implementation of this innovative plan, and will oversee the transformation of Rikers Island into a hub of urban sustainability. Part of the $3 billion New Deal New York budget pledged toward building a climate resilient NYC will go toward funding and development for Renewable Rikers.

I believe in the Renewable Rikers vision, which came from conversations with directly impacted individuals and survivors of Rikers Island, who make the connection between being over-polluted and over-policed, and intend to develop more policies in communication with impacted communities. Closing Rikers and investing in renewable infrastructure will help generate renewable energy locally, and create good green jobs for New Yorkers.

8A) How would you support the City in meeting its target of becoming zero waste by 2030, if at all?

As Mayor, I will work to transform waste management systems to improve their efficiency and reduce emissions. I will commit to implementing commercial waste zones, which will lead to a much higher recycling rate, and will increase focus on organic waste collection programs. 


My administration will:


-Continue targeting carbon-intensive sectors of the economy and government including sanitation

-Create a plan for phasing out our use of municipal waste incinerators  

-Solidify our commitment to zero waste and more severely restrict single use plastics including plastic bags and commercial packaging

-Prohibit retailers from destroying and landfilling unsold or lightly damaged merchandise and enhance donation and proper recycling programs, following the example of a recent law in France

-Expand and promote the Donate Food and Rescuing Leftover Cuisine program

-Regulate business, conference, and event catering to have a plan in place for donation of leftovers

8B) Commercial Waste Zones and Local Law 199 is an example of the sort of comprehensive and transformative climate justice policy that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission while also raising labor standards, and its implementation will likely happen under the next mayoral administration. How will you ensure that the ambitious goals of the policy are prioritized and accomplished in its implementation?

I commend the hard work of NYC’s Environmental Justice organizations and communities, and the Transform Don’t Trash Coalition, on the passage of Local Law 199, and will ensure that it’s full implementation is a priority under my administration. This Law will not only reduce the burden placed on low-income communities and communities of color, but will also increase efficiency amongst private carting companies and reduce excess air pollution, traffic, and noise, and promote financial stability and high recycling and waste reduction standards.

As Mayor, I will follow through on enacting environmental justice policies like this one, and will be in communication with the coalitions and communities that championed LL 199 as we move forward with its implementation. In addition, to build out from this law, I will require carters to develop zero waste plans, and innovate their waste reduction systems in exchange for long term contracts.

9A) How would you invest in the New York City workforce for a future of climate jobs, if at all?

I will take a number of approaches, detailed below, to create and expand climate jobs across the city, most significantly in communities of color. These jobs will be sustainable for workers and our economy, as jobs which don’t provide a living wage or safe working conditions also damage the City’s sustainability. 


As Mayor, I will:


-Ensure we have appropriate  workforce training programs to sustain new climate infrastructure and create a pipeline of newly trained and retrained workers into the climate industry. 

       -Reinforce  the state’s Green Jobs Training Program and ensure that the City keeps pace 

         with green jobs growth; 

       -Invest both in job skills and higher education for youth and in retraining programs; 

       -Focus  training programs on Black and Brown communities, women, older high school 

       students, and formerly incarcerated residents.


-Reducing New York City’s emissions and ensuring our resilience to the coming impacts of climate change will require significant investment in our infrastructure - renewable energy generation, upgrades to our transit systems, and in particular, retrofitting and upgrading our building stock. 

      -All of these are onsite jobs, and should therefore prioritize local hires, particularly from among historically disadvantaged communities. 


-Programs will provide access to union benefits such as pensions, health insurance, and job security 

     -Similar to WPA, building upon existing programs such as the Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), Helmets to Hard Hats New York, and Pathways 2 Apprenticeship


9B) How would you implement measures to ensure the creation of high road jobs, if at all?

As we think about how to bring jobs back that have been lost, it is critical that we focus on developing and making accessible green, good paying union jobs that provide healthcare and protection from workers from viruses like COVID and other toxic hazards that leave workers vulnerable due to environmental injustices. 


New Deal New York, my $10 billion capital spending program, will create up to 100,000 good paying new jobs for New Yorkers. 30,000 will be new jobs through projects that will employ artists, construction, technology, and engineer workers, along with approximately 70,000 indirect jobs for childcare workers, librarians, home healthcare workers, and manufacturers.

10) Is there an innovative idea, policy or otherwise, that you believe would allow NYC to be a leader in our quest for Climate Justice? 

I am committed to creating good jobs for New Yorkers that meet the needs of the climate crisis while tackling our economic recovery in a just way. I am exploring a citywide climate jobs program, with a focus on environmental justice communities. This would be modeled on innovative programs like the recently announced Federal Civilian Climate Corps, and California’s Climate Action Corps. 


Our program would hire New Yorkers to be actively involved in the frontline work of mitigating and adapting to climate change, developing sustainability projects, and partnering with climate justice communities to address their needs. This initiative will move our City toward it’s ambitious climate goals, while creating jobs and professional development opportunities for environmental justice communities.